Brief History of Czech Republic

The history of the Czech Republic is a narrative spanning over a millennium, with its roots reaching back to the 9th century. The first recognizable state in the region was the Great Moravian Empire, known as a significant cultural and political entity in Central Europe between the 9th and 10th centuries. However, its power diminished, and the region was then dominated by the Přemyslid dynasty, which forged the Duchy of Bohemia in the late 9th century.

The Duchy of Bohemia transformed into the Kingdom of Bohemia during the 13th century under King Ottokar II, turning the region into a significant power in Europe. In the 14th century, Emperor Charles IV, a member of the Luxembourg dynasty, made Prague an Imperial seat and cultural hub. This era, known as the Golden Age of Czech history, witnessed the establishment of Charles University, the first university in Central Europe.

The 15th century was marked by religious conflict and social reform sparked by Jan Hus, a theologian and precursor to Protestantism, leading to the Hussite Wars. By the early 16th century, the Kingdom of Bohemia was integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy. This union, while offering certain stability, also imposed Catholicism, leading to tensions between the Habsburg rulers and the predominantly Protestant Czech nobility.

The 19th century saw the rise of Czech nationalism, inspired by the broader European trend of Romantic nationalism. The Czech language, culture, and national identity were revitalized, setting the stage for the 20th century’s seismic changes. Following World War I, the Czechs and Slovaks jointly declared the formation of Czechoslovakia, signaling the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Czechoslovakia experienced a tumultuous 20th century, with the Munich Agreement in 1938 permitting Nazi Germany’s occupation and the post-WWII period bringing about a communist coup in 1948. The Prague Spring of 1968, an attempt to establish “socialism with a human face,” was crushed by Warsaw Pact troops, leading to a period known as ‘Normalization’, characterized by political repression and economic stagnation.

Finally, in 1989, the peaceful Velvet Revolution led by Vaclav Havel ended the Communist rule, and Czechoslovakia became a democratic country. In 1993, in what was known as the Velvet Divorce, the country peacefully split into two independent nations: the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Since then, the Czech Republic has become a stable, developed, and democratic society, joining NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.

About Czech Republic

Country Code: +420.

Crime: Czech Republic generally has a low crime rate compared to many other countries, especially in regard to violent crimes.

Common types of crime in the Czech Republic include petty theft and car break-ins, especially in larger cities and tourist-heavy areas. Pickpocketing can be an issue in crowded areas such as public transportation and tourist hotspots in Prague.

Cybercrime is also a growing concern, mirroring a global trend towards internet-based fraud, identity theft, and related crimes. The Czech police have dedicated resources towards combating this type of crime, working with international law enforcement agencies when needed.

Moreover, the Czech Republic has faced issues related to corruption, although the situation has improved in recent years. Anti-corruption measures and increased transparency have been major focuses for the Czech government, the results of which have been apparent in international rankings.

Currency: Czech Koruna.

Electricity: Type C (2-pin round), Type E (2-pin round, male earth pin).

Language: Czech.

Latitude and Longitude: 49.8175° N, 15.4730° E.

Population: 10.51 million.

Prime Minister: Petr Fiala.

National Parks

The Czech Republic is home to several national parks that offer a diverse range of landscapes, from vast mountains and deep forests to picturesque rivers and sandstone formations.

Krkonose National Park: Established in 1963, this is the oldest National Park in the Czech Republic. It is shared with Poland and is listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site.

The park is home to the highest peak in the Czech Republic, Sněžka, and a variety of unique flora and fauna.

Sumava National Park: Often referred to as the “Green Roof of Europe,” Sumava is one of the largest national parks in Central Europe. It straddles the Czech-German-Austrian border and is recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

It features dense forests, peat bogs, and glacial lakes.

Podyjí National Park: This is one of the smaller national parks in the country, but it offers a beautiful, untouched piece of nature. The park is located in the South Moravia region and is known for the deep, winding Dyje River valley.

Bohemian Switzerland National Park: Known as České Švýcarsko in Czech, this park is famous for its stunning sandstone formations, deep valleys, and the largest sandstone arch in Europe, Pravčická brána. The park shares its borders with the Saxon Switzerland National Park in Germany.

Bohemian Paradise (Český ráj): While not a national park, but a protected landscape area, it’s worth mentioning due to its unique features. It is known for its scenic beauty marked by rock formations, castles, and varied landscapes that make it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

Top Tourist Attractions

The Czech Republic, with its rich history, architectural beauty, and stunning landscapes, offers an array of attractions for tourists.

Prague Castle: Located in the capital city of Prague, the castle is one of the largest ancient castles in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its complex includes palaces, churches, gardens, and picturesque spots.

Charles Bridge: An iconic symbol of Prague, Charles Bridge spans the Vltava River. It’s adorned with a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries and offers stunning views of Prague Castle.

Old Town Square & Astronomical Clock: The Old Town Square in Prague is a bustling area filled with historical buildings, including the famous Astronomical Clock, known as Orloj, a medieval clock that dates back to 1410.

Český Krumlov: A UNESCO World Heritage site, Český Krumlov is a beautiful town in the South Bohemia region. It’s known for its picturesque Old Town and the Český Krumlov Castle.

Karlovy Vary: Famous for its hot springs, Karlovy Vary, also known as Carlsbad, is a renowned spa town. It also hosts the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, one of the oldest in the world.

National Parks: As mentioned earlier, the Czech Republic is home to several national parks, such as Krkonose, Sumava, Podyjí, and Bohemian Switzerland. Each of them offers unique natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor activities.

Brno: The second-largest city in the Czech Republic, Brno is known for its modernist buildings, including the UNESCO-protected Villa Tugendhat. It also hosts the annual Grand Prix of Brno.

Moravian Karst: This is a protected nature reserve to the north of Brno known for its stunning geological features, including numerous caves, gorges, and limestone formations.

Kutná Hora: Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Kutná Hora houses the unique Sedlec Ossuary, also known as the Bone Church, and the magnificent Saint Barbara’s Church.

Plzeň: The birthplace of the world-famous Pilsner beer, Plzeň, or Pilsen, is home to the Pilsner Urquell Brewery. The city also has a charming old town and the second-largest synagogue in Europe.